We write as graduates of Manhasset High School to call for you to vote in favor of this year’s school budget. We feel strongly that the Manhasset community is built around the school, and for good reason. Each of us has benefited from the education and extra activities that the school district and community provided us.
Manhasset means excellence because of its schools and its programs, not because of its train station. In 2010 Manhasset was ranked nationally as the 87th best public school in the nation. As we went off to college and learned about other students’ high school experiences, we have found that Manhasset is not 87th, but the best public school district in preparing us for the rigors of college studies and discovering our strengths as individuals. Our district produces scholars, physicians, financiers, lawyers, athletes, musicians, writers, actors and directors. It starts with an enriching experience from kindergarten through senior year, one that provides many avenues to excel and teaches tolerance and respect for others, all in an environment where a student feels he or she comes first.
A letter to the editor entitled "Who Is The Bully Now?"appeared in the April 19 issue of the Manhasset Press signed by Todd Higgins. He did not write the letter. It was mistakenly published under his name. Mr. Higgins informed the paper that he is not opposed to the budget, as the letter states.
We apologize for the error.
This is the fourth in a series of articles from CACLA, in which we discuss the subject of unfunded mandates and how they impact the Manhasset Public School District. It is this committee’s goal to educate the community on this subject matter in particular, as it has significant current and long-term ramifications.
An unfunded mandate is a statute or regulation (coming from the state or federal government) that requires, in this case, a local public school district to fulfill the requirements of the mandate without adequate funding. The dollar expense of the unfunded mandate must come from the only revenue source a public school district has, i.e., the property taxes each resident is required to pay.
Thanks for your recent article, “Stumped.” Many of us are still struggling to rebuild from the physical and financial impact of Super Storm Sandy, an unavoidable natural catastrophe. The careless removal of our trees on Shelter Rock and Searingtown Roads was an avoidable man made catastrophe motivated by greed and fueled by oversight that was resource constrained by the storm. Great Services, Inc took advantage of our community.
The village and/or the county must sue the contractor, Great Services, Inc., for their negligent and unnecessary removal of our trees. We must take the necessary steps to cancel their contract and hold the contractors accountable for their actions. Supporting Great Services, Inc. after they physically and financially assaulted us is a Great Rip Off.
We have listened to and read disparate versions of the facts surrounding the Manhasset Board of Education’s preliminary working budget, particularly as it relates to the increase in pension costs. While we clearly are not experts on the subject of pension benefits, we are concerned that there is a great deal of misinformation in the air, so we attended meetings on the budget and did some research on our own. Here is what we have learned.
Manhasset School District employees generally belong to one of two public pension systems: (I) the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS); or (II) the New York State Employee Retirement System (ERS). New York State mandates that all school districts within the state participate in the pension systems and make annual contributions to the systems. Participation in the TRS and the ERS is not negotiated between the Manhasset School District and its employees.
Another year, another school budget debate. Much has been written and spoken about, but little has been done except for kicking the can down the road.
One letter writer states that New York State determines pension benefits. This is not exactly true. What the writer neglects to mention, is the State determination is merely an administrative function. The actual amount of money contributed to the fund is based upon salary (determined by the school board), age of employee, years of service and assumed rates of return, among other things. To blame the state is misleading and disingenuous.
If our schools were considered a “business” and the students considered the “clients” and the “business” had difficulty staying within budget, the business would look inside before threatening to cut services or raise prices, especially in this economic environment. The “business” should have strong, responsible leadership to do what many other businesses have done these last several years – cut salaries and extraneous staff—i.e., assistant principals, assistant teachers, etc. We have no representation for our children in our schools. Our school leadership puts teachers’ interests before our children’s needs.
There may be manhates by the state for medical and pension benefits that can’t be changed in this generation, however, there should be appropriate and responsible negotiations made for salaries. Many of us in this community have had job losses, salary reductions, and loss of bonuses in the last several years. We cannot keep absorbing the increases for teachers. In addition, the continual tax increases are making our homes undesirable for resale. At the same time the diminishing quality of Manhasset schools and the threat of further cuts by Dr.
I read with dismay some of the specious allegations in a letter to the Manhasset Press last week (Vote ‘No’ on School Budget) and I felt that, as past President of the Manhasset Board of Education, I was in a unique position to correct some of the inaccuracies therein. While the board has not yet voted on the final budget number, I was told (because I asked) that the actual budget-to-budget increase is currently projected to be less than 3 percent and the tax levy increase is projected at less than 7 percent.
The writer alleges erroneously that there has been ”excessive spending” and that the “only cause cited [for the need to pierce the 2 percent tax cap] that is unique to Manhasset is increased enrollment.” The author needs to look back in time to see what else has been unique about Manhasset over the last several budget seasons.
(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to the Manhasset Press, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilwoman Anna Kaplan.)
Thank you for the informative article and, more importantly, for highlighting the issue of the mass cutting of all of the flowering trees along both Shelter Rock Road and Searingtown Road on the front cover of the March 29 Manhasset Press. This subject has been of concern to our family as well as to many members of the Manhasset community. With no information coming from our town/local officials, we are all dumbfounded how something as egregious as this could happen.
This weekend I counted a total of approximately 225 trees that were cut down on both Shelter Rock and Searingtown Roads. That is a shocking number of trees destroyed, especially in a community that prides itself in, and has strict laws protecting, its trees. As you correctly pointed out in the article, these trees were one of the things that gave our community a unique character, especially this time of year when they were in full bloom. They surely will be missed.
After extensive discussion at its April 4 meeting, the Manhasset Board of Education agreed to reduce the preliminary working budget, resulting in the following:
• a 2.71 percent budget-to-budget increase, reduced from the originally proposed 4.61 percent budget-to-budget increase
• a 6.47 percent tax levy-to-tax levy increase, reduced from the originally proposed 8.78 percent tax levy-to-tax levy increase
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